0

Georgia Tech Notebook
Choice questionable for Virginia game

ATLANTA - Tashard Choice's strained hamstring could sideline him for Georgia Tech's game against Virginia, the star tailback admitted Tuesday.

Choice pulled up lame in the third quarter of last Saturday's loss to Boston College. He suffered the injury on his lone long run of the night, a 12-yard gain.

"We'll take it day to day and see how it feels," Choice said. "It's not like a pull, it's more of a strain on the side of the muscle. I ran (Monday) and it went pretty well, so we'll see the rest of the week."

Choice ran again in Tuesday's practice but did not participate in contact drills.

Choice is the second most productive rusher in the Atlantic Coast Conference so far this season, averaging 112.3 yards per game. And he's yet to play a full game - he left games against Notre Dame and Samford early because of lop-sided scores and missed the fourth quarter of the Boston College loss because of the injury.

If Choice can't play Saturday, Georgia Tech will feature a "running back by committee," head coach Chan Gailey said. The Yellow Jackets have tremendous depth at tailback with Rashaun Grant, Jamaal Evans and Jonathan Dwyer available.

Dwyer replaced Choice against BC and ran for 16 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. He said he will be prepared to start, although he expects to see Choice in that role.

"He hasn't given us any hints, but in my mind, I think Choice is going to be able to play," Dwyer said.

Choice takes blame for poor rushing numbers

Georgia Tech's offensive linemen love Choice, and Tuesday he showed one of the reasons why, blaming himself and not poor blocking for his 31-yard performance against Boston College.

"To be honest, when we went back and looked at the film, I didn't run the ball well at all," Choice said "I missed three or four plays where if I had made the right read, I would have had big gains. I didn't even read my own keys as to what the folks on my side of the ball were doing. I didn't play good enough to help my team win the game.

"Give (BC) credit: They played good, tackled well and had the holes covered. They had their gaps and controlled them, but there were certain plays I wish I had back."

Virginia's Long an 'effort warrior'

Virginia defensive end Chris Long is no longer known primarily for being the son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long.

Long's five sacks through three games is the second most nationally, and his interception late in last week's game keyed a victory over North Carolina.

"He has a great motor," Georgia Tech offensive guard Nate McManus said. "He's what we call an effort warrior - he never quits."

Long's style is similar to his father's. Howie Long played 13 seasons for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders and finished with 84 career sacks, including three seasons with 10 or more.

Stopping Howie Long usually took two or more blockers. His son is the same way, Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey said.

"I saw his daddy for a lot of years, and he's got a lot of the same traits," Gailey said. "He has excellent technique, great strength, leverage, quickness."

Gailey sees Bennett's progress

Georgia Tech fans continue to wait for quarterback Taylor Bennett to play like he did in last year's Gator Bowl. He completed 19 of 29 passes for 326 yards in that game, a 38-35 loss to West Virginia.

Bennett's completing 55 percent of his passes and has 410 yards combined in three games this season.

Gailey likes what he's seen, though, particularly in last week's game against BC.

"I thought he made some good reads and did some good things," Gailey said. "We haven't arrived in the passing game, but I thought we did some decent things we can build on."

Bennett's yet to throw an interception - the offense has yet to commit a turnover, in fact - and the quarterback has been sacked just twice.

Smith 'amazed' by calls, replays

Review of the Boston College game film confirmed what wide receiver Greg Smith already knew - officials missed calls on two important plays he was involved in.

The first was a juggling catch officials ruled incomplete on a third-down play in the first half. Replays showed Smith got his hands underneath the ball as he fell to the ground, but the replay official refused to overturn the call, citing the lack of "indisputable" evidence.

The other call Smith disputes is that he stepped out of bounds after spinning away from a BC tackler and running up the sideline for a first down in the second half. Replays showed the outside of his foot hit very near the sideline - within an inch - and the replay official again elected not to overturn the call.

"It was pretty amazing how you can see yourself do something, know that you did it and then have somebody tell you that you didn't do it," Smith said. "It's pretty amazing."

SideBar: Georgia Tech at Virginia

When: Saturday, noon

Where: Charlottesville, Va.

TV/Radio: ESPNU/790-AM